Infancy and Childhood

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					Infancy and Childhood
       Chapter 10
                Section 1—
         The Study of Development
• Developmental psychology: How people grow and
  change throughout the life from conception through
  infancy, childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.
• Why study development?
• Why study young children?
• Psychologists study the infancy and childhood for many
   – Early childhood experiences affect people as adolescents and
   – Studying early development helps us better understand
     developmental problems
   – Helps us understand what early experiences lead to healthy,
     well-adjusted children and adults.
Developmental Psychologists
 • Developmental psychologists study different
   types of development.
   – Physical development,
   – Social development
   – Cognitive development.
 • Psychologists use two methods to study how
   people change and develop over time.
   – Longitudinal method
      • Pros and Cons
   – Cross-Sectional Method
The Roles of Nature and Nurture
• Nature/nurture debate has been particularly relevant in the
  study of development.
    – Today most psychologists believe that both play an important role.
• Psychologists use various kinship studies to try to sort out the
  biological and hereditary causes.
• There are certain traits, talents and predilections that we may
    – Certain disorders (even psychological ones) are hereditary.
    – Concordance rate for clinical depression is reportedly about 70
      percent for identical twins and about 25 percent for fraternal twins.
    – Twin research published last February suggests that childhood
      obesity is 77% genetic.
• At the same time, nutrition, environment and social context
  influence how these genetic tendencies are expressed.
    – Intelligence can be nurtured
• Judith Harris - ―The Nurture Assumption (1998)
• In the context of development,
  heredity manifests itself in the
  process called maturation.
   – Maturation is the automatic and
     sequential process of development
     that results from genetic signals.
      • Infants sit up before they crawl, crawl
        before they stand, stand before they walk.
   – Infants will not learn these skills until
     they are ―ready‖.
           Critical Period
• Critical period—a stage or point in
  development during which a person or
  animal is best suited to learn a particular skill
  or behavior pattern.
• If do not have the opportunity to master the
  particular skill during the critical period it
  becomes much harder thereafter.
• Language development is a classic example.
            Stages v. Continuity
• There is debate among psychologists
  whether development occurs primarily
  in stages or as a continuous process.
• Stage theorists see the
  developmental process as stair-
   – People stay plateaued for periods, then
     take significant developmental jumps
     as they hit and move through critical
   – Jean Piaget – famous stage theorist
• Continuity theorists believe that
  development happens gradually
  without distinct levels.
   – New abilities act as milestones, but the
     process of acquiring the abilities
     through mastery grows steadily
Section 2—Physical Development
• Human infants are born
  more physically immature
  than almost any other
• However, human infants
  grow at an extraordinary
  rate in the first few years.
• Infancy is the period from
  birth to age two.
• In the first year of life
  most babies triple their
  weight and grow about 10
       Motor Development
• Very early in an infant’s life, random movements
  are replaced by purposeful movements. This
  process is called motor development.
• Motor development proceeds in stages.
• When kids hit ―milestones‖ varies from child to
  child and from culture to culture.
   – Doctors track these milestones to help
     diagnose developmental disorders.
• Cultural differences.
  – Examples: Ugandan babies
• Babies are born with a
  number of reflexes.
   – Reflexes are involuntary
     reactions or responses,
     such as swallowing.
• Some reflexes are
  unique to infants.
  Others, like blinking
  and swallowing, last a
   –   Grasping
   –   Rooting
   –   Moro or startle reflex
   –   Babinski reflex
    Perceptual Development
• Infants are programmed to
  prefer new and interesting
  – Infants prefer pictures of the
    human face to other patters
    and stimuli, even if very
  – 5-10 week-old infants look
    longest at patterns that are
    fairly complex, regardless of
    the pattern.
  – By 15 to 20 weeks, what the
    pattern is begins to matter.
Perception Continued

            •   Before babies are able to crawl,
                they don’t appear to have much
                depth perception, but once
                they are able to motor about,
                they develop it. This seems to
                be a survival skill.
                 – Example: Glass cliff study.
            •   Hearing is better developed at
                birth than eyesight.
                 – Most newborns stop and look
                   towards unusual sounds.
            •   Newborns also distinguish
                between odors.
                 – React negatively to strong or
                   pungent odors, but smile when
                   presented with sweet smells.
 Section 3—Social Development
• Social development involves the ways in which
  infants and children learn to relate to other
• Involves the way infants learn to bond with care-
  givers, make friends and relate to others.
• Many important factors affect social
  –   attachment
  –   parenting styles
  –   child care
  –   child abuse and neglect
  –   self esteem
       • Attachment is the emotional
         bond that forms between
       • The earliest and most
         important is between infant
         and parents, usually mother
       • Attachment normally flows
         both ways. It is partly
         instinctive and partly
       • Attachment is critical for
         survival and for healthy
         emotional development.
Development of Attachment
           • Psychologists who have studied the
             attachment of infants have discovered
             the following:
              – At first infants do not bond to anyone
                in particular but simply prefer being
                held over being alone.
              – By 4 months infants develop specific
                attachments to their mothers.
              – This attachment grows stronger by six
                or seven months; infants cry and
                complain when they are separated.
                Separation anxiety
              – By 8 months many infants develop a
                fear of strangers. Stranger Anxiety.
           • Why do infants become attached to
                  Contact Comfort
•   The old explanation for bonding with caregivers was the belief that infants
    bonded to those who fed them.
•   Studies show children bond with those people (or things) that give them
•   Example: Harlow’s infant monkey study.
•   Thus, the modern theory is Contact Comfort: the instinctual need to touch
    and be touched by something soothing.
Importance of Attachment
• Forming a strong and solid attachment has a number
  of important consequences for children.
• One important consequence is providing security to
   – Harlow study
   – Theory is that attachment provides a comforting, secure
     base from which to explore.
   – What do these studies suggest will be the consequences to
     children who do not form a strong attachment as infants?

     • Imprinting is the process by
       which some animals form
       immediate attachments
       during a critical period.
     • Many animals imprint to the
       first object they see one
       they become mobile.
        – Example: Konrad Lorenz
     • There is no critical period
       for attachment in humans
       or clear evidence that
       imprinting happens.
   Secure v. Insecure Attachments
• When mothers or other primary caregivers are
  affectionate and reliable, infants usually become
  securely attached. Such infants are very
  bonded to their caregivers.
• Mother who are unresponsive or unreliable
  produce children who are insecurely attached.
• Insecure infants tend to mature into insecure
  – They tend to be less happy, have a harder time
    forming good friendships and attachments to teachers
    and peers, are more likely to get into trouble and do
    poorly in school.
            Parenting Styles
• Psychologists examine parenting
  styles using two factors: warmth vs.
  coldness and strictness v.
• Warm or Cold.
   – Warm parents show a great deal of
     affection to their children. Hug and kiss
     and smile more often. Demonstrate that
     they are happy to have children.
   – Children of warm parents.
       • More likely to be well adjusted.
       • More likely to develop a strong
         conscience—desire to obey rules for the
         sake of being good.
   – Children of cold parents tend to want to
     obey rules simply to avoid punishment.
  Parenting Styles
Strict or Permissive
            • Why parents are either strict
              or permissive varies a great
            • Studies have shown that
              healthy strictness produces
              the best results.
                – Strictness that is imposed
                  lovingly fosters
                  achievement, self-esteem
                  and self control.
                – However, physical
                  punishment or constant
                  interference with children
                  may lead to disobedience
                  and poor grades.
Parenting Styles

          • Best Parents are
            combine warmth with
            positive kinds of
          • Authoritarian parents
            – Believe in obedience for its
              own sake.
            – Strict rules are set and
              expected to be followed
              without question.
            – Children of such parents
              tend to become either
              resistant to other people or
              dependent on them. Don’t
              do as well in school.
       Effects of Day Care
• Quality of parenting is much more important than
  whether or not a child is in day care.
• Quality daycare does no harm and some studies suggest
  that it has some benefits.
• Some benefits of day care
   – Children are less upset when their mothers leave. Greater
     security and independence away from home and mother.
   – They are more sociable with other children, more likely to share,
     more independent and more self confident.
• Some problems associated with day care
   – Somewhat more likely to be aggressive and less likely to be
     cooperative, perhaps due to competition for attention and
• Children do better in day cares that are stimulating and
  have more adults per child.
Child Abuse and Neglect
• In a national poll, 5% of parents
  admitted to abusing their children
• Child neglect is more common.
• Reasons that parents abuse
    – Stress, particularly unemployment
      (kick the dog syndrome)
    – History of child abuse when they
      were children
    – Acceptance of violence as a way of
    – Lack of attachment to children
    – Substance abuse
    – Rigid attitudes toward child rearing.
Effects of Child Abuse and Neglect
              • Higher risk of developing
                psychological problems
              • More insecure; less likely to
                explore the world
              • Less self-confidence
              • More likely to be anxious or
              • More likely to be aggressive and
                abuse their own children
                 – While child abuse runs in families,
                   most children who were abused do
                   not automatically become abusers.
              Self Esteem
• Self esteem is critical to healthy
  emotional development and
  happiness in life.
• Childhood is a critical period for
  developing self esteem.
• Influences on Self-Esteem
   – Parenting style and interaction is
     the most important.
   – Secure attachment to parents
   – Authoritative parents who give firm
     rules combined with warmth and
   Unconditional Positive
    Regard and Esteem
• Carl Rogers identified two ways in which parents can react to
  their children—Conditional and Unconditional Positive Regard.
• Conditional Positive Regard—Parents show their love only
  when the children behave in certain acceptable ways. Love is
  conditional upon the children doing what the parents want.
• Unconditional Positive Regard —Parents love for their
  children is not withdrawn when they break rules or otherwise
   – Punishment is not personalized.
• Children who receive unconditional love tend to develop higher
  self esteem.
   – There are important distinctions between unconditional positive
     regard and permissiveness.
Gender, Age and Self Esteem

              •   By 5-7 years, children begin to value
                  themselves on physical appearance and
                  performance in school.
                   –   Girls begin to show greater competence in
                       reading and general academic skills.
                   –   Boys show greater competence in math and
                       physical skills.
              •   Boys and girls often become better at the
                  things they are ―supposed‖ to excel in.
                   –   Predict higher success rates in activities
                       which represent their gender.
              •   Self esteem grows until school age.
              •   Children who find some skill they are good
                  at develop better self esteem.
              •   Self esteem starts to decline during grade
                  school years, bottoming out at 12 and 13
              •   Begins to go back up again during
Section 4—Cognitive Development
• Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive
• Assimilation and
   – Piaget believed that people organize new
     information in two ways through
     assimilation and accommodation.
   – Assimilation --new information is placed
     into categories that already exist.
   – Accommodation-- creating new
     categories for information, or a change in
     thinking or adjustment in thinking
     because of new information.
                   Piaget’s Stages
• Piaget was a stage theorist—He believed that children’s thinking
  developed in a sequence of stages.
• Piaget’s stages are:
   –   Sensorimotor
   –   Preoperational
   –   Concrete-Operational
   –   Formal-Operational
  Piaget--The Sensorimotor
• Early infancy (birth-2 years old).
• The key cognitive development: efforts to
  act with purpose and coordinate vision and
  other sensory stimuli with motor activity.
• Learning to control their movements and
  that there is a relationship between their
  physical movements and the results.
• Object Permanence —Before about 6-months,
  children lack object permanence. If an object
  disappears, they act as if the object no longer exists.
   – By 8 months, children begin to look for objects that have
     been taken away or covered.
    The Preoperational Stage
•   Preoperational: 2-7
•   Preoperational thinking is very one-dimensional. Children in this stage
    can only see one aspect of a problem at a time.
•   Conservation—Preoperational children do not understand
    conservation of mass.
•   Preoperational children are also egocentric, artificialistic and
     – Egocentric:
     – Lack of Conservation:
Concrete-Operational Stage
• Age 7 to Puberty
• In this stage children begin to show signs of adult thinking. Use
  logic, but logic is limited to concrete things. Abstract thinking is
    – Lack of Abstraction:
• Thinking is grounded in concrete experiences; learn better
  when have hands-on examples and models.
• Can focus on two dimensions of a problem and thus
  understand the law of conservation.
    – Conservation:
• Less egocentric. Can see the world from someone else’s point
  of view.
The Formal-Operational Stage
• Starts in puberty
• Capable of abstract thought. Students can
  handle algebra because they can understand
  the idea of a variable.
• Can deduce rules of behavior from moral
• Can deal with hypothetical situations.
• Can problem solve mentally by thinking
  through possible actions and probable
  Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral
• Kohlberg was interested in the type of
  reasoning children used to answer moral
• Like Piaget, he was a stage theorist.
• Believed that there were three levels with
  two stages in each level.
  – Preconventional – I, II
  – Conventional level – III, IV
  – Postconventional level – V, VI
   Preconventional level

• Preconventional level—(Before about
  age 9)
  – Moral judgments based on the
    consequences of behavior.
    • In Stage 1—believe what is good is what helps
      one avoid punishment.
    • In Stage 2—what is good is what satisfies a
      person’s needs.
     Conventional Level
• Conventional Level—(Starting around age
  – Moral judgments based on whether an act
    conforms to conventional standards of right and
    wrong. Standards created by family, religion and
     • In Stage 3—good is what most people would do in a
       given situation.
     • In Stage 4—moral judgment is based on maintaining the
       social order. Have a high regard for authority.
 Post-Conventional Level
• Post-Conventional Level—
  – Reasoning based on a person’s own moral
    standards or goodness. Based on one’s own
    judgment and not conventional standards.
     • Stage 5—reasoning recognizes that laws represent
       agreed-upon procedures, that laws have value and that
       they should not be violated without good reason.
     • Stage 6—moral reasoning and acts that support the
       values of human life, justice and dignity as moral and
       good. Rely on own conscience.
End of Chapter

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